Keeping mason bees in your fridge (and other ideas for helping wild pollinators)
There's been a lot of talk about saving the honeybee, and with good reason. They give us honey, they pollinate our crops, and they are just plain awesome. But with many nations facing a "honeybee deficit", we'd be foolish to put all of our eggs in one basket. Nature is full of amazing pollinators, and here are some cool ideas for helping them.
Propagate Mason Bees
Mason bees might not give you honey, but they are extremely effective pollinators. Permaculture legend Paul Wheaton has put together this awesome mini-documentary about these fascinating creatures and what we can do to help them, including keeping bees in our fridge!
Promote Pollinator-Friendly Development
Solarcentury/CC BY 2.0
Halting manmade climate change is a crucial way we can help save pollinators of all stripes. But UK-based Solarcentury is looking to do something for the furry fliers now, too - teaming up with bumblebee conservationists to build bee-friendly solar parks. Given the spread of solar parks worldwide, this could be a great opportunity to build large-scale pollinator reserves. Promoting green roofs on buildings everywhere is not going to hurt either.
Plant Bee Roads
Planting a wide-range of forage plants for wild pollinators and honeybees alike is a crucial service to Mother Nature (and your local farmer!). The UK-based Cooperative Group developed a plan for "bee roads" across Britain, providing tracts of wildflowers which could help feed populations and allow them to migrate from one location to the next.
Reduce Pesticide Use
© Rich Hatfield of The Xerces Society 2013
When 25,000 bumblebees died in a Target parking lot, it turned out to be an acute case of insecticide poisoning. But pollinators don't have to die en masse from direct exposure. An increasing body of evidence suggests that neonicotinoid pesticides are harming pollinators and making them susceptible to several other health threats too. A recent study suggests, for example, that pesticide exposure leads to smaller bumblebees, making them less effective at foraging for nectar.
Just one more reason to eat organic and let your garden grow naturally.